For some reason Doug Bandow’s bios do not mention where he grew up. David Goldfield’s CV says that although he was born in Memphis he grew up in Brooklyn. I on the other hand grew up within walking distance of a Civil War battle, not much farther from a slave market, numbered among my schoolmates people whose great-great-grandfathers had served on opposite sides in the American Civil War, and I had two great-great-grandfathers who fought for the Union. I think that explains my visceral reaction when Mssrs. Bandow or Goldfield write that the Civil War was unnecessary.
It was necessary as surely as it is the case that there are still people south of the Mason-Dixon Line who refer to the American Civil War as “the War of Northern Aggression”, sometimes but not always humorously.
It was baked in. The Civil War was the price that we paid in blood for the U. S. Constitution. I think they are dismissing this too quickly:
A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.
Their claim is the claim that the South would willingly have abandoned slavery or that slavery’s opponents would willingly have allowed it, assertions for which I find little evidence. Lincoln’s election was a signal that slavery would be abolished, the South took it so, and acted accordingly.